ORTHOPEDICS CONSULTATION WOMAN
The usage of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections in orthopedics has become more prevalent in recent years. Doctors have now learned that the human body is capable of healing itself. Being a form of regenerative medicine, PRP therapy can harness those abilities and promote the healing of body tissue by amplifying its natural growth factors. As the usage of PRP injections is rapidly gaining popularity in the world of orthopedics, physicians need to have a clearer understanding of how the technique works before they attempt to use it.
Along with liquid called plasma, blood also contains other small solid components that include platelets, white cells, and red cells. While platelets are most commonly known for their importance in blood clotting, they also contain numerous proteins, called growth factors, which play an essential role in healing various injuries. PRP consists of a greater concentration of platelets than typically found in blood. Thereby, the concentration of growth factor also becomes almost 5-10 times higher than usual.
Some major components of platelet-rich plasma that contribute greatly to stimulating the proliferation of mesenchymal cells include platelet-derived growth factors, vascular endothelial growth factors, fibroblast growth factor-2, insulin-like growth factors, and transforming growth factor-bets. When the tissues in an individual’s body starts repairing at first, these factors help stabilize that tissue. Scar formation and fibrous connective tissue are the two most common risks involved.
For orthopedic applications, first the physician is required to draw blood from a patient and then transfer it to a device called centrifuge. Centrifuge is apparatus that separates particles from a suspension by using centrifugal force. After this process, the physician then needs to extract PRP by following the device instructions and cleanse the injection site. Then, they have to administer local anesthesia (only if required) and use sterile technique and real time image guidance to efficiently inject the PRP.
The time and speed it takes to execute the centrifugation process can vary, and these differences in centrifugation time and speed can affect the PRP composition. Therefore, it is important to understand that not all PRP injections are the same. The exact composition of platelet-rich plasma depends on multiple variables including the use of additives, and the concentration of platelets and white blood cells. Moreover, there is no consensus on what PRP centrifugation process provides the best outcomes for treating orthopedic problems such as osteoporosis.
Physicians planning to use PRP injections and its applications in orthopedics should consider the importance of informed consent, insurance coverage and the time commitment it is required to effectively learn and execute the technique, so that they can provide their patients with the best orthopedic care possible.